The day before making bread, place the 3/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon yeast and 240g bread flour into pan of a bread machine. Select dough cycle then let knead for 5 minutes. Stop machine and let rise overnight.
The next day, pour starter from bread machine pan into a non-metalic container. Reserve 90g for this recipe and freeze remainder for later use.
In a large bowl, mix together reserved starter, the 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 280g bread flour, wholemeal flour and salt. Select Dough Cycle; press Start. After 10 minutes, remove dough from machine and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Deflate dough and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a round loaf. Place loaf on a baking tray that has been sprinkled with polenta. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Spray loaf with water and place in preheated oven. Spray loaf again every two minutes during the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 40 minutes or until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
If you want texture with lots of holes, knead less and add more liquid.
Altered ingredient amounts.
This is one of the few breads I have found that gives the chewey texture I was looking for. Love it fresh, toasted and used to make Panini sandwiches. I replace some of the bread flour with more wholemeal flour and a little gluten. I didn't have a bread machine at first so kneaded it all by hand. Glad to have a machine now! - 29 Sep 2008
With apologies to Chris, I made this by hand (no bread machine). The starter was not liquid enough to "pour" as the recipe stated; I went ahead and used all the starter and made the bread using a little more wholemeal flour than stated. I used a tin of water in the bottom of my oven instead of spraying the loaf with water, and the bread turned out very crusty, with a chewy interior. It does need more salt, because it is a little bland. I will tinker with this recipe, because it is worth trying again. Thanks for an adventure Chris! - 29 Sep 2008
I tinkered with this recipe a bit after reading the review. I added a little more salt and made two loaves with the starter. It was very tasty. Perfect crust and wonderfully chewy interior. I made it all by hand, don't have a bread maker. - 29 Sep 2008